June 2013

Mastering marlinespike

Long splice

Knowing how to make a long splice is a must for sailors. Unlike a short splice, a long splice doesn’t increase the line’s diameter, allowing it to pass through a block without jamming.

A broken halyard repaired with a long splice works as easily as before it parted; however, the repaired line will be weaker and should be used only until a replacement can be installed.

Long splice

A. Carefully unlay the strands of a ¾-inch laid line at least 12 inches. Avoid fraying the ends any more than necessary. If desired, use masking tape or twine to temporarily whip the ends of each strand. Next, intertwine the strands.

B. Loosely tie an overhand knot with strands 2 and 5. Make sure the overhand knot follows the configuration shown. Carefully unlay strand 6 for about 8 inches.

Next, lay strand 3 in the slot created by unlaying strand 6. When strand 3 meets strand 6, tie them into an overhand knot as strands 2 and 5 were tied, but tie this knot tightly.

Now tighten the overhand knot you tied with strands 2 and 5. Examine each strand and its lay to ensure that your work so far is even and equally tight. When this splice is put under tension, each strand must stay in place and take its portion of the load. If they are not equally tight, adjust the tension in the overhand knots to correct the loading.

When you have finished these steps, grasp strand 1 and carefully unlay it for about 8 inches.

C. Lay strand 4 in the slot created by unlaying strand 1. When strand 4 reaches strand 1, tie an overhand knot in these two strands as strands 3 and 6 were tied. Again, make this overhand knot tight and check the strands for even stress under load.

Finally, roll the long splice on the deck to smooth it and make it appear uniform in shape. When you are satisfied with the result, heat-cut the strands and dimple the ends. The final long splice will pass easily through rigging blocks.

Original materials used with thanks to Irene Rodriguez and John Bennett


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Mastering Marlinespike


Cleat hitch

Round turn with two half hitches

Clove hitch

Sheet bend

Figure eight

Anchor bend

Rolling hitch

Double sheet bend

Eye splice

Becket bend

Reef knot

Blood knot

True lover’s knot

Monkey’s fist

Carrick bend

Angler’s loop

Strangle knot

Jar sling

Japanese success knot

Spanish bowline

Stevedore knot

Heaving line knot

Three-part crown knot

Sack knot

Short splice

Constrictor knot

Slip knot

Japanese bowline

Hawser bend

Slipped bowline

Bowline on a bight

Lark’s head

Buntline hitch

Jury mast knot

Slipped buntline hitch

Painter’s bowline

Binder’s loop

Wall and crown knot

Inside cow hitch

Toggled reef knot

Long splice

Tugboat hitch

Crown sennit

Toggled lark’s head

Matthew Walker knot


Back splice


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